Who is Allegra Stratton?

ALLEGRA Stratton was seen joking in a practice press conference video about an alleged Christmas party that took place despite lockdown restrictions last year.

But who is she and what does she do?

Allegra Stratton jokes about an alleged party

Who is Allegra Stratton?

She is a former British political aide, writer, and former journalist who served as Downing Street Press Secretary under Boris Johnson from November 2020 to April 2021.

She was is one of four children of a translator father and textile artist mother and was named after Allegra Byron, a daughter of the poet Lord Byron.

Stratton attended Chiswick Community School and Latymer Upper School, an independent school in West London, before studying at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where she studied archaeology and anthropology.

Stratton worked for The Guardian as a political correspondent until joining the BBC in 2012, where she became Political Editor of BBC Two’s Newsnight from 2012 to 2016.

She worked for ITV as National Editor of ITV News from 2016 to 2018 and co-presenter of Peston on Sunday from 2016 to 2018.

Stratton married James Forsyth, Political Editor of The Spectator magazine, in 2011. The couple have two children and live in Canonbury, North London.

Future Chancellor Rishi Sunak was best man at their wedding in 2011, and they and Sunak are godparents to each other’s children.

In November 2020, Stratton told The Sunday Telegraph that despite voting for the Labour Party, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats in the past, she voted for Brexit and describes herself as “a Johnson Tory”.

She is said to be an ally and friend of Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie.

What was Allegra Stratton’s role in the government?

After leaving journalism, Stratton became a Conservative Party political advisor. She was Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Director of Strategic Communications at the Treasury from April to October 2020.

She became the press secretary for 10 Downing Street in October 2020. In April 2021 she was newly appointed as spokesperson for COP26 President Alok Sharma.

What did Allegra Stratton say on the Downing Street party?

On 7 December, ITV News released a video alleged to be from December 2020, in which Stratton – during a mock press conference – joked about a Christmas gathering in 10 Downing Street, which BBC News reported as having “several dozen” attendees.

 In the leaked 47-second clip, filmed from the 9 Downing Street briefing room, Stratton and other Downing Street staff joked about the party being just “cheese and wine” and a “business meeting”, with “no social distancing”. 

The video footage begins with Ed Oldfield enacting the role of a journalist questioning Stratton as part of the planned briefings, saying: “I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?”

To which she replies: “I went home [laughs], hold on hold on.

“What’s the answer?”

Another unidentified Downing Street employee then said: “It wasn’t a party … it was cheese and wine.

Stratton: “Is cheese and wine alright? It was a business meeting.”

Quizzed in the leaked footage, Stratton laughingly says: “This is recorded … This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”

Johnson has repeatedly said no Covid rules were broken, while his spokesman denied earlier on Tuesday that any event at Downing Street took place.

At the time of this party, London was under tier 3 lockdown restrictions  meaning any indoor gathering consisting of more than two people was banned.

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